Cared for MRSA patient without PPE

  1. Hi everyone,

    I'm a student nurse on my first placement at a hospital so hoping I'm just stressing over nothing and someone can put my mind at ease about this!

    I was on afternoon shift today and the ward I'm on got a new admission not too long before I got there. I received handover from the shift coordinator who didn't say too much about the new patient. A few minutes later another nurse asked me to help the new patient change because she spilled her drink on herself. I did this and helped her unpack some of her stuff.

    I never actually touched the patient herself but did touch her clothing she was wearing and lots of her belongings.

    A few minutes after I had finished in her room, my nurse buddy asked me to help set up a contact precaution trolley out the front of her room because she has MRSA. The shift coordinator forgot to hand it over!

    My nurse told told me I'd be fine because it's spread by bodily fluids, I googled it when I got home to double check and saw you could get it front touching something an infected person touched.

    Now I'm stressing and wondering if anyone can put my mind at ease about this or give me any guidance! Thanks in advance
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    About emnicole

    Joined: Jul '17; Posts: 9; Likes: 1

    15 Comments

  3. by   Twinmom06
    MRSA is so prevalent in the community at large, our hospital doesn't even isolate for it or VRE anymore. They've pretty much stopped swabbing every nose that walks in the door except for nursing home/group home patients because its PA law. Don't worry about it.
  4. by   juan de la cruz
    In our institution, MRSA requires "Standard Precaution". That means using hand hygiene at all times and PPE as required by the procedure involved and the site of infection. You didn't mention where the site of the MRSA infection is. If it is from a wound, it would have been prudent to wear gloves when touching her personal belongings (clothing) as you mentioned. Again, this would have been standard for any other patient.

    If she has MRSA pneumonia and has an advanced airway (ET tube or trach), you would wear eye protection and mask when suctioning unless it is a closed in-line suction unit. At a bare minimum, handwashing after handling her clothes would have protected you. Be aware that MRSA is present outside of healthcare settings and is known to be in the community for years. It is the very reason why patients coming in with an unknown infection are empirically treated with Vancomycin until MRSA is ruled out.
  5. by   emnicole
    Thank you that makes me feel so much better!
  6. by   SaltineQueen
    It won't be your last exposure to it. There were plenty of times where a patient that had been on the floor for however long "all of a sudden" comes up positive for something. Make sure you're washing your hands & wearing gloves if appropriate.
  7. by   beekee
    Oh the fun you will have with communicable diseases. First, apparently, it's socially acceptable to cough on a nurse. No one ever turns their head or uses an elbow. We are patients' handkerchiefs. Second, you will have plenty of patients who, on day 1 are not on precautions and on day 2 (or later) are suddenly on precautions for something. I've given plenty of nebulizers to patients with the flu. I've been in TB rooms before we knew. I've cared for patients with c.diff. for days (strangely, no diarrhea, but his INR kept rising and no one could figure it out...until the blow out. It wasn't pretty). It's pretty common to not get a heads' up about precautions....unfortunately. Just wash your hands and wipe down your stethoscope between patients.
  8. by   Apples&Oranges
    Every time you go to the grocery store and pick up an apple, orange or pear, someone before you with MRSA, VRSA, VRE and C-diff touched that same fruit without washing their hands. Same thing every time you drive a rental car, touch a doorknob, walk on carpet, check into a hotel or enter a car dealership. Every single place you go, everything you touch has these bacteria on ANYTHING another person has touched.

    Is that gross to think about? Yep. Can you get away from it? Nope. Where do you think all of the "infected" people go when they are discharged? To the same gas station, Costco and Wendy's you do, every single day.

    Wash your hands before you touch your face. You'll be fine.
  9. by   WAnurse80
    Be aware of what you touch, (where they cultured MRSA from), wash your hands, and don't worry about it is my 2cents. Longtime ICU who cared for a ton of isolation patients here.
  10. by   psu_213
    My hospital is another one that does not isolate for MRSA anymore. As someone else already mentioned, it is prevalent outside of the hospital to begin with.

    The real lesson here, you should wear gloves anytime you are touching the clothes a pt just wore. Not just for MRSA, but there could be other surprises hiding in those clothes. Also, remember good hand hygiene practices.
  11. by   Miss.LeoRN
    We break out the isolation for a mention of MRSA, like it's a plague, at my hospital. Want a private room? Just mention MRSA. Even a "history of MRSA" will get you in isolation. Precautions or not, as long as you were wearing gloves and washed your hands you're fine. You'll have many more exposures, as has been stated.

    I'm not a glove-fanatic. I wear them when appropriate in patient care. I do always wear gloves when handling patients belongings. Not like, handing them a glass or their glasses, phone, etc from a bedside table, but say an article of clothing from a personal belonging bag? Definately. I had a patient once ask me to hand them their t-shirt out of their belongings bag from ED and I stuck a bare hand into the bag; his clothes were soaked in urine. Ugh.
  12. by   Kallie3006
    Quote from Miss.LeoRN
    We break out the isolation for a mention of MRSA, like it's a plague, at my hospital. Want a private room? Just mention MRSA. Even a "history of MRSA" will get you in isolation. Precautions or not, as long as you were wearing gloves and washed your hands you're fine. You'll have many more exposures, as has been stated.

    I'm not a glove-fanatic. I wear them when appropriate in patient care. I do always wear gloves when handling patients belongings. Not like, handing them a glass or their glasses, phone, etc from a bedside table, but say an article of clothing from a personal belonging bag? Definately. I had a patient once ask me to hand them their t-shirt out of their belongings bag from ED and I stuck a bare hand into the bag; his clothes were soaked in urine. Ugh.
    You'll only do this once and that will be enough to last you for the rest of your career, I've done this too ... never again. Wash your hands before and after patient contact ect, use standard precautions on everyone and you are probably getting more exposure to infectious substances at Walmart or the grocery store. I've had to have series ppd tests after a patient has been diagnosed with TB after being in the hospital for a couple days. Standard precautions, everytime..
  13. by   City-Girl
    If you take public transportation most likely you've sat next to some people with MRSA and other unpleasant bugs. I find it funny when I discharge a person who has been on precautions, they go out the front door of the hospital just like everyone else and live amongst us. They go to the grocery and most likely touch the fruit just like the rest of us. Just remember good hand hygiene and you'll be good.
  14. by   Medic_Murse
    This is how you get harry palms.

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